United Nations: Baerbock travels to New York nuclear weapons conference

Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock is leaving for New York on Monday to attend a United Nations conference to review the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

United Nations: Baerbock travels to New York nuclear weapons conference

Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock is leaving for New York on Monday to attend a United Nations conference to review the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The more than 50-year-old agreement, to which 191 countries have joined, forms the basis for nuclear disarmament worldwide. It states that only the US, Russia, China, France and the UK can have nuclear weapons. The four other suspected nuclear powers India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have either not joined the treaty or have withdrawn from it.

At the start of the conference, which lasts until August 26, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak alongside Baerbock. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - officially the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons - came into force in 1970. The aim of the agreement is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, promote nuclear disarmament and promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

US nuclear weapons also in Germany

A review of the goals is planned every five years. The tenth review conference was supposed to take place in 2020, but was postponed due to the corona pandemic. Nuclear disarmament had stalled even before Russia launched a war of aggression against Ukraine. Now the reduction of the nearly 13,000 nuclear weapons worldwide is becoming even more difficult.

In addition to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, there is also the more far-reaching Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty, which, however, was not signed by the nuclear powers or any NATO member state, including Germany. In the coalition agreement, however, the Greens pushed through that Germany, contrary to the NATO line, participates as an observer in a conference of the parties. That was also implemented in June.

In view of the new threat situation in Europe, the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Germany, which was still being demanded by the SPD and the Greens in the 2021 election campaign, is no longer an issue. Up to 20 US nuclear bombs are still stored at the Büchel air base in the Rhineland-Palatinate Eifel. In an emergency, Bundeswehr fighter jets should use them.

Disarmament, according to Baerbock, "anything but easy"

Three weeks ago, during a visit to Nagasaki, Japan, Baerbock campaigned for a world without nuclear weapons, despite the tense security situation. There, in 1945, about 70,000 people were killed and 75,000 others injured by the second dropping of a US atomic bomb. However, the Foreign Minister also conceded that concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament "are anything but easy in the current world situation".

For Baerbock, the nuclear weapons conference is the start of a three-day trip to the United States and Canada. In addition to Guterres, the Green politician also wants to meet Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in New York. On Tuesday she will give a speech there on transatlantic relations and, together with her Swedish colleague Ann Linde, will host a meeting of the so-called Stockholm Initiative, which aims to take concrete steps toward nuclear disarmament. Baerbock will then travel on to Canada for her inaugural visit.

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